The new England Test captain Joe Root has been told that the team must deliver 'an exciting brand of cricket' as part of a broader strategy to develop the game and encourage wider interest in cricket, the ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has revealed.
Harrison was speaking as the ECB launched "All Stars Cricket", a programme designed to get 5-8-year-old children passionate about cricket and playing the game.
The former England captain Michael Vaughan believes that programmes such as All Stars Cricket will create the next generation of fans and arrest the decline in children playing the game.
That is the intended strategy of the ECB, who acknowledge the competition that cricket faces from other sports and pastimes, as well as different forms of entertainment.
This drive to entertain and attract fans also includes the style of cricket that the senior Test and ODI sides will be expected to play.
Harrison commented that: "Joe Root and Eoin Morgan understand their responsibility to be playing exciting cricket for future generations to connect with and for fans of the game to get behind us.
“The England teams are very clear that part of their responsibility in playing this bold and brave cricket – this commitment to playing an exciting formula of cricket every time they go on the park – is linked to this.
"It’s a very deliberate strategy. It doesn’t work every time you go out on the park. But we understand that it’s more likely you’re going to be forgiven for having a bad day if you’re doing everything to try to win a game, as opposed to not trying to lose it, which is a very key difference in positioning.”
West Indies v England – 3rd ODI
Harrison also admitted that the development of an eight-team city-based Twenty20 domestic tournament was part of this strategy.
The idea has been controversial, as it differs from the traditional county structure of English domestic cricket, but most counties and cricket observers have argued that a radical re-vamp of the existing T20 Blast was necessary to compete with the glitz and glamour of India's IPL and Australia's Big Bash competitions.
The shift to England playing a more expansive, exciting brand of cricket already began when former captain Andrew Strauss was appointed director of cricket at the ECB in 2015, confirming the departures of the previous managing director Paul Downton and the senior England coach Peter Moores.
Director Of England Cricket Andrew Strauss – Press Conference
An emphasis was placed on playing a more positive style of cricket and a focus on the one day limited overs format, where England have previously struggled.
This then led to the appointment of Australian Trevor Bayliss to coach the England Test and ODI sides.
Since Eoin Morgan replaced Alastair Cook as ODI captain, the England ODI have played a more positive style, reaching the World Cup final, and Cook's recent departure as Test captain, now paves the way for Root to take this entertaining attacking philosophy forward as the leader of the Test side.